My Canadian Friend Tries Out Sea Urchin in Virgin Island, Panglao, Bohol

Travel Diary: One Amazing Journey to Biliran Province, Philippines

It wasn't easy going to Biliran. With absolutely no sleep, the ride from Tacloban New Agucay Bus Terminal was confusing. Nothing changed since 2 years ago when i went there. That on another entry. Rode a Naval bound van and paid around P170. It took us around 3 hours to get to Naval. The driver was really good - so many sharp curves and edges but he managed flawlessly plus he's very accommodating. 

Got to change seats and was able to take Drift shots but headroom was wide. Lesson learned. When i got to Naval, I top-loaded onward to Almeria where i will be staying. As usual, i was the only guest. I paid P1000 for the A/C room. It's pretty comfortable but power shortage is frequent. Couldn't do island hopping because the waves were big. When the boat man advises you so, don't disobey. They know the tide and rift very well. They couldn't even fish so that should be a sign. 

I could see the two islands from the coast but yes, so near yet so far. Enteng was my driver. He was persistent to take me to the waterfalls like Ulan-Ulan  and Recolletos but i had no sleep and i don't trust my balance. 

Anyway, i went first to Almeria Church - a small Church with beautiful facade. People chipped in to construct the house of worship. 

Passed by Little Baguio where a road was constructed in the middle of huge boulders of mountains. Enteng said he can't advise me to go down and take some pics. Worse, he said it's a no-no to ride a bike at night. People live in the mountains. End of story there. 

After a very long ride, I finally reached Tinago Falls. Even more beautiful than the others i have seen. Was okay to just sit and watch the water fall effortlessly. I didn't swim because the water was too cold. 

After Tinago Falls, I went to Polatistis falls but couldn't find it. Enteng and i asked a couple of bystanders and was pointed towards the sea. I rented a boat to take us to the flow of water. Bathe and tasted it, it is indeed really sweet. 

After the rejuvenating swim, I went to the hot spring where water boils. It's weird that beside the hot spring is the river where water was cold. There sure is a volcano down there or up there because where the hell will the hot spring come from anyway. After that, I was pretty tired but tried to squeeze in the terraces. 

After coming from Banaue, it's surprising that technique is spread out in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Coming back to Naval, I went to eat at a barbecue stand Enteng recommended. Ordered Inihaw na Pecho or grilled chicken breast, and pork barbecue and for him also, pig intestine and pork barbecue. I paid less than P100 for our compete meals. Also, tried again puso and the really spicy chili they have. 

I went back to Agta just in time when the rain really started pouring. I was invited to drink some more but i was really tired so headed for the room. You know me, i would have said yes but with no sleep, i might falter. When the power went out, slept like a baby. Slept at 6PM, woke up at 12MN, slept again and woke up at 3:30AM. I'm wide awake.

Next day, I went to walk around the beach and took photos of rocks. I had simple breakfast and went back to wash up. It was time for me to head to Southern Leyte as hoping the weather would be better there. Some tourists from Manila were convincing me to go with them but i politely decline. My plan was to go now to Southern Leyte. 

I rode a van at Naval bound for Ormoc where i will catch a bus or van to Maasin City, Southeren Leyte.

Biliran is quiet, calm and full of exotic flora and fauna. But the people here are so damn beautiful, inside and out. 

Discover the quiet side of Koh Pha Ngan: Travel to Ao Ban Tai, Thailand

ALL-TIME FAVORITE POST FROM 2010 RE-BLOGGED: So after a fair little while staying up north of Koh Phangan, i decided to go my way to the southern coast of this majestic island. You know me, i am where i am. I just go everywhere. Also i wanted to go somewhere and stay near for the half moon party that's gonna happen February 5, 2010. 

After checking out good beaches from my torn out free map, and a so-so advise from the mad travel agent in the corner of Thongsala, i decided to hitch on a motorbike and explore the south. It's past noon and the heat was scorching my skin. I was riding behind this cool driver, who was gonna be my driver for the day until the next day. He carefully placed my rucksack in between his knees. I was on the back trying my best to balance and not fall off after a bumpy road ahead of us. It was about time, i settle down for the day, with still salt water in my skin, and a few sand stones still in my hair. It's about time, i take a rest for a bit to reserve much needed energy for the night of the half moon party.

A few resorts here and there, Checked out the place. A busy resort. A not so busy resort. A very quiet resort. Too many resorts littered along the coast of Ban Tai. Sometimes, it makes you think how the owners earn? at all? i could have settled somewhere else. Three things what i want where i will stay.

One-it should be quiet and not a lot of tourists. 
Two- it should be nice, i am not looking for five star amenities but one that's just right. Three- there should be a bar somewhere where i can go out for drinks and not having to rent those 150 baht one way motor taxis. 

So i found myself here in Power beach. And up until now i still think just lounging around Power is one of the greatest chill out moments of my life. Find that out on my next post.

It's a hippie beach. Imagine lone deserted islands. Cool travelers from around the world. Quiet in the morning. Party animals at night. Where no one judges you. Where it's cool to chat and talk just about anything. Where a bar is situated right in front of the beach. Where the bartenders are some of the most laid back people in the world. Where after a few drinks, the real you shows. Where nipa huts are set up to shade up from direct sun. Where 300 baht is the cost of a comfortable fan room. Where you will meet really cool people. Where there's good music. Where life is good.

Ahh, Power beach.
Ao Ban Tai is the name of this beach. It's in the middle of the sunset beach from Thongsala to the broken island beach of Ban Khai. The whole village is known for its coconut plantations and fishing is equally popular. Relatively, the beaches of the South have finer white sands and crystal clear waters (emerald green). This is the same area as Haad rin Nok but you can see the difference which one is spoilt and which one is waiting to be spoilt. Here in Ban Tai, it's still close to natural. The sunset is really good. You're right smack in the middle of things happening. I actually loved this location, you're not too far from the main town, yet you feel you're too far from congestion. Several bamboo chairs and tables are set up for people to enjoy the sunset while sipping those mojitos and vodka tonics. And the music affects your mood. So good!
A shot at around 4pm. One can see Ang Thon Marine National Park. It's actually a very quiet beach with not so much people around, actually i think 70% of travelers to Koh Phangan are staying in Haadrin. And right now as i write this entry, i can still feel the warm air enveloping my skin and the smell of tanning oil and fresh air.

Life's a hippie life! It's a hippie beach here Ban Tai!!!

Super Stoked Traveling to Mirissa Beach in Matara, Sri Lanka

I never planned on going to Mirissa. But I've never felt this good knowing i was there once, and would be going back again, in a heart beat. Mirissa is everything you could imagine a South Asian tropical retreat would be. And knowing it's only about 200 kilometers away from the equator and almost on the southern tip of Sri Lanka and the subcontinent of India, no doubt you'll never get more exotic than that. 

Coming from Hikkaduwa, and with a really bad hangover from last night's drinking spree with my crew, i trooped like a soldier waiting for a bus bound for Mirissa. I didn't even bother understanding how will i get there, but i know i will. With a little friendly demeanor and just a few spare Lankan coins, i was off to paradise. I just know that it's right smacked in between Welligama and Matara, and about an hour away from Galle. That's it.

When i arrived in town, i headed towards finding a cool place to stay. I was planning to spend only half a week in the seaside beach town of Mirissa, anyway. With relatively confusing pathways heading towards the beach resorts, i walked along the beach. With feet combing down the soft sands, with my huge backpack on, and burning my skin from the heat of the day, i looked for a couple of places. There was one that seemed very cheap to stay at. It is located on the left side of the beach when you're facing the ocean. But the view was rather a bit heart-breaking. I chanced upon another resort right in the middle of the the main beach, with huge veranda and a pool but the rate was out of this world. Then, i saw one tucked a little away from the beach. It was Sira's Chalet. While there's more work to be done around the compound when i visited, the rooms were sparkling clean and comfortable. It was already ready to accept guests even if it's midway in construction. I had to call out a few times before this man came up to me. He introduced himself as Sira - the manager of the chalet, and the name behind my accommodations for almost a week. After giving me the best discount ever knowing i was traveling solo and promised that i would be tidy the whole time i will be staying, i went to my room to check in. It was an absolute lovely time at Sira's.

The rest of the days were just about enjoying the luxury of not having to worry about what i am going to do next. When you're in Mirissa, you are already promising yourself of total bliss. Because some other beaches in Sri Lanka are so commercialized, you get a mix of everything. 

In Mirissa, you just have to enjoy the beach and relax. And i did just that. I would normally wake up at sunrise to eat my breakfast. Sira would be the one to cook for me. I am at my healthiest, too. I would indulge myself on fresh fruits. It was also my first time to eat wood apple. So delicious!

I would often lounge in the beach early morning, and then come back to take shade after a few hours. I would occasionally drink Lion Beer at one of the many bars along Mirissa. I would either choose buttered king prawns for lunch, and grilled sea bass for dinner. Sometimes, i would grab a burger and fries. 

Apart from the many things Robin Crusoe would do, i would also walk around and talk to people. It's just my thing. I would come up to the locals, and just talk about anything under the sun. I met so many people around Mirissa that i lost count already.

More than the occasional sightings of turtles swimming by the beach, and seeing the infinite smiles of Russians enamored by the beaches of South Asia, it was the relatively calm atmosphere of Mirissa that i loved the most. The waves were a little huge when i went there, but that didn't stop me from swimming. I didn't have to go far, anyway, as the waves were just too strong. It's the feeling of getting stoked in such a tucked away place. 

This is my kind of trip in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro, Philippines

Sending my biggest hug and wettest kiss to all my friends around the world. Let's travel the world soon!